Companion Planting for the Veggie Garden
It’s now a well-known fact that certain plants grow better when planted near to each other as they improve each other’s well-being and protect each other from attack by insect pests. Now this is the kind of gardening I like, letting Nature lead the way and do the work!

Companion Planting for the Veggie Garden

It’s now a well-known fact that certain plants grow better when planted near to each other as they improve each other’s well-being and protect each other from attack by insect pests. Now this is the kind of gardening I like, letting Nature lead the way and do the work! This is especially useful when applied to your vegetable garden, ensuring that your vulnerable vegetable seedlings are given the best start by planting them along with their companion plants. Companion planting is the best way of using a small space for maximum production of healthy plants and vegetables. Certain plants actually help to improve the soil structure and quality and reduce pest attacks.

HELPFUL COMPANION TOMATOES

Tomatoes for example, secrete an alkaloid substance which repels nematodes in the soil (eelworms) which cause root knot and plant death. Some plants are also heavy soil feeders, meaning they take up and need a lot of the soil’s nutrients and minerals, while some plants are light feeders, and others even give food back to the soil. So growing a variety of flowering plants amongst your veggies actually causes them to symbiotically assist each other and help them all to thrive.

COMPANION PLANTING IS ‘POLYCULTURE’

Growing several crops together provides a symbiotic and biodiverse community of plants, called ‘Polyculture’, whereas the traditional farming practice of only growing one crop is called ‘Monoculture’. Monoculture was designed by farmers to suit mass growing and harvesting techniques, but this method invites pests in for mass attack and depletes the soil. There is a big difference between growing for profit and growing for self-sufficiency and companion planting is definitely the best method for home gardeners as it most closely emulates the natural balance of nature left to its own devices. So a tip would be to rather plant your veggies and companion plants in loose groupings rather than rows, so that the shade of taller plants helps vulnerable seedlings and plants which attract certain pests, protect others from those pests. Plants naturally grow in crowded conditions so emulate this too in your vegetable patch in what Jane Griffiths calls a ‘Jungle Style’ of companion planting. Jane is the author of the book, Janes Delicious Garden, and is a vegetable gardening guru in South Africa, using natural and organic principles of growing healthy vegetables and plants.

Companion Planting List

Here is a list from Soil For Life of common vegetables and their associated companion plants that help them thrive, as well as those plants that they prefer not to be close to. Funny how plants are so like people!

VegetableLikesDislikes
AsparagusTomato, Basil
Bush BeansMost vegetables but especially Beetroot, Carrot, Celery, Mealies, Leeks, Potatoes, Strawberries, Radish, Cauliflower, Cucumber, Lettuce, Marigolds, PetuniasOnions, Garlic, Chives, Fennel
Climbing BeansMealies, CarrotsSunflower, Onions and Cabbage family
BeetrootBush Beans, Onions, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Cruciferous veg, ChivesClimbing beans
Cabbage family, Broccolli, Brussel Sprouts, Cauliflower, Kale, KohlrabiBeetroot, Celery, Lettuce, Onion, Potato, Tomato, Bush Beans, Chamomile, Dill, Thyme, Sage, Oregano, Marigolds, RosemaryClimbing Beans, Strawberries, Garlic, Rue
CarrotsBush Beans, Lettuce, Leeks, Onions, Peas, Radish, Tomato, Climbing Beans, Parsley, Dill, Sage
CeleryBush Beans, Cabbage family especially Cauliflower, Leek Tomato
CucumberBush Beans, Cabbage family, Celery, Mealies, Lettuce, Radish, Sunflower, NasturtiumsPotato
Eggplant (Brinjal)Bush Beans, Peas, Potato, Nasturtiums
LeeksBeetroot, Bush Beans, Carrots, Celery, Onions
LettuceCarrots, Radish, Onion, Spinach, Chervil, Strawberry
MealiesAll Bean varieties, Beetroot, Cucurbits (Cucumber and Squash), Potatoes
OnionsBeetroot, Cabbage family, Carrots, Lettuce, LeeksPeas, Beans
ParsleyBasil, Chives, Asparagus, especially in shade of Tomatoes
PeasCarrots, Radish, Spinach, Turnips
PotatoBush Beans, Cabbage family, Mealies, Peas, MarigoldsSunflowers, Tomatoes, Rosemary, Cucumber, Pumpkin, Squash
RadishQuick growing and happy to be interplanted with most vegetables and beans
Soya beansWith most vegetables and interplant with Mealies
Squashes and Pumpkin familyMealies, RadishPotato
StrawberriesBush Beans, Onions, Peas, Spinach, Lettuce, Marigolds, BorageCabbage family (Brassicas)
SunflowersCucurbits, SweetcornClimbing Beans, Potatoes
TomatoesAsparagus, Basil, Celery, Onion, Cabbage familyApricot trees, Potatoes, Fennel, Strawberries
TurnipsPeas
Zucchini (Baby marrows)Nasturtiums

Another small example of this system I can demonstrate from my own veggie garden experience. We have wild Gooseberries that popped up amongst my lettuces and spinach which are extremely prone to caterpillars. Now that my gooseberries are ripe, the red-wing starlings and olive thrush birds are regulars coming to have a Gooseberry or two. But they are also keeping the caterpillars at bay and my Spinach plants are much happier since the gooseberries have been nearby. I’m happy to forfeit a few gooseberries a day as they self-seed so readily giving me a good supply, and the protection they offer is a great payoff!

Companion planting and natural gardening guidelines:

  • According to Jane, these companion planting tips will help to encourage healthy, symbiotic benefits to your plants:
  • Mix fast and slow-growing, early and late harvest crops in your beds.
  • Mix heavy and light feeding vegetables.
  • Mix long rooted plants with shallow rooted plants.
  • Use sun-loving, tall or leafy plants as umbrella plants to shade those needing less sun.
  • Sow several varieties of each vegetable. This provides an assortment when you harvest, helps confuse pests and aids the soil.
  • Harvest whole plants as soon as they begin to crowd others too much. Don’t wait until they mature. Rather add them to salads and stir-fries and have fewer, healthier plants.
  • Be ruthless with the plants you don’t want – pull them out when they are young.
  • Sow fast-growing, shallow rooted plants like mustard, Asian Greens, radishes and buckwheat to crowd out weeds you don’t want.
  • When planting bought seedlings, don’t plant them all at once. Rather do succession planting to overlap harvesting time.
  • Plant as much variety as possible.
  • Continually feed your soil with compost!
  • Share seedlings with fellow gardeners. We often we have too many of the same plant for our needs.

Happy gardening!

Sources:

  • Jane Griffiths, Jane’s Delicious Garden.
  • Pat Featherstone, Grow to Live, Soil for Life

Bougainvilleas – So Bright & Bold

Cheer Up Your Garden With Some Bougainvillea Colour! Expert advice on growing this cheerful climbing shrub called the Boungainvillea.

Architectural Plants

Today’s blog is list of plants, shrubs and trees which can be used as architectural form plants to create an eye catching piece in your garden. By adding a couple of carefully chosen plants, trees and shrubs one can go far to increasing the appeal of your garden and adding interest and dimension. Turn dull uniform areas, into modern, jaw dropping show ‘pieces’.

Butterflies in the garden

Everyone is charmed by butterflies! They represent metamorphosis, hope through change and are symbolic of the life-cycle of all living things. Some are brilliantly patterned and coloured with kaleidoscopic markings.

Let Your Garden Shine

Who wouldn’t want to follow this path into the cool night air? So you’ve spent hours perfecting your garden; considered the most functional layout, the prettiest features, comfortable furniture, interesting plants, and your lawn is your personal victory. It’s such a pleasure to have such a beautiful and calm space to enjoy. Weekends with family and friends, perhaps by the pool, pets and children frolicking in the open air.

Attracting Garden Birds. Feeders & Beyond – Everything You Need To Know

Enjoy the beauty and heart-warming joy that garden birds bring. Learn how to attract various different birds to your garden.

Child Safety in The Garden

Every year, many children are rushed to the hospital due to accidents that occur in the home and garden. Checking your garden is safe for the littlest members of your family is important and here are some tips and advice for making yours as safe as possible.

Artificial Greening – Our Growing Range of Artificial Plants

Don’t be fooled! Faux is the new cool! The new possibilities for using synthetic or ‘fake’ plants for greening up your interior and outdoor living spaces are reaching new heights, quite literally!

March is for Garden Maintenance

Essential garden maintenance tips on activities you need to perform during Autumn. A winter-ready garden guarantees a lovely Spring garden.

HELPFUL GARDENING TIPS FOR MARCH

The climate starts cooling down and in particular night temperatures go down. So this is the time of the year when you still practice summer maintenance but at the same time start planting and preparing for cooler climate gardening.

Garden Woes: Weeds & CutWorms

If you’re a gardener, you know that weeds, cutworms, and other pests can wreak havoc on your plants. But there are ways to fight back! Here are some tips for dealing with these common garden problems.

Claim your free consultation now

+27 (0) 21 788 1202

tenders@contoursgroup.co.za

Unit 2 Lakeside Place Capricorn Business Park, Muizenberg, Cape Town, 7945

Let’s plan your project together!

We plan, install and maintain award-winning landscapes for our commercial clients and project partners who wish to add function, value and inspiration to their outdoor spaces and properties.

Our roots are in Cape Town but our footprint stretches deep into southern Africa.